Janette M. Hunter, Eller Finance and MIS ’85, Eller MBA ’91
Founder and Managing Director, Global Innovations, U.S.A.
By Sue Kern-Fleischer
One of Eller’s earliest entrepreneurs, Janette M. Hunter, founder and managing director of Global Innovations, U.S.A., says business is booming.
Janette M. Hunter, CFE, CPA, accepted her BSBA in finance and management information systems from the University of Arizona during the UA’s historic 1985 centennial commencement. She subsequently returned to the University of Arizona to attend the MBA program, focusing on entrepreneurship while simultaneously being introduced to the public transportation industry through her senior financial analyst position with Sun Tran. These two events would merge to form the basis for Hunter’s successful consulting company specializing in Federal Transit Administration Buy America rolling stock compliance audits, research, and training.
Upon earning her Eller MBA with a concentration in entrepreneurship in 1991, she launched Global Innovations, U.S.A. (GLOBAL), a Tucson-based company she conceptualized during the entrepreneurship program. Some say her firm could rank as the longest-run, female-owned start-up coming out of Eller, or certainly, she and her firm are among some of the earliest UA entrepreneur success stories.
Looking back, Hunter credits Eller for helping her develop her leadership, executive management, forensic accounting, and financial analytical skills. Her entrepreneurial journey in niche consulting has taken her through transformations in three industries: public transportation, auto emission testing, and death care services. “Each transformation in my career was a result of societal trends,” Hunter said, adding that she has worked with companies that acquired market leaders, went public, were venture capital start-ups, and pursued acquisition growth strategies.
And, while her experience is diverse, she is best known as America’s leading independent Buy America compliance auditor with more than 300 transit vehicle configurations audited for more than 60 U.S. transit agencies. Her work spans the industry’s technology evolution from her first audit of American Ikarus’ Model 416 diesel bus to the electric, hybrid fuel, clean diesel, BRT, low floor, and trolley models offered today.
Interestingly, her fast-paced consulting career, which has taken her throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, has allowed her to experience every aspect in the public transportation industry from her Sun Tran employment, consulting assignments with national firms, starting and operating a local transportation company with three transportation divisions, and now, to the forefront of FTA Buy America compliance auditing, research, and training.
GLOBAL’s current growth trend started in 2011 and since then it has been a straight trajectory up. Lately, Hunter has been balancing audits of Canadian and American manufacturers with her customized training forums while showcasing her firm’s progress in the new website, www.globalinnovations.us. Her narrow niche and growing demand for her specialized services has her evaluating what’s next for her journey. “It’s an interesting dilemma,” she said. “Like other entrepreneurs in growth mode, after maximizing technology solutions, I’ll need to bring on talented, like-minded consultants who share my passion for this type of work. My business tagline, “Buy America Solutions in Action,” illustrates how fortunate I am to be able to design a career full of independence, creativity, and purpose.”
Top photo of speeding city bus in Los Angeles courtesy Shutterstock.